de-cluttering your wardrobe

How To Enjoy Life After De-cluttering Your Wardrobe

If you’ve been de-cluttering your wardrobe recently then you’ve probably been thinking what’s next?  Maybe you have been wondering how you stop yourself needing to do another major de-cluttering session?

de-cluttering your wardrobe

Well there are several steps you should take after de-cluttering your wardrobe which I’d like to share with you here:

1. CELEBRATE!

Acknowledge your achievement – how does it make you feel? Proud? Happy? Fulfilled? More relaxed?

2. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK

If you’ve spent some time de-cluttering your wardrobe it can be tiring physically and emotionally.  So do something to fill your self up whatever that looks like.

life after de-cluttering your wardrobe

3. DECLUTTER OTHER AREAS

Recognise that by regaining control over your wardrobe may encourage you to de-clutter other areas of your life.   Not just your living space, but perhaps your digital space as well.

4. FREETIME

We lose up to 2.5 days per year looking for stuff that we have lost. That’s a whole weekend away and you’ve earned it!  So remember to book that weekend away it’s time to reclaim those 2.5 days now!

5. ENCOURAGE OTHERS

Share your experience of de-cluttering your wardrobe with friends and family.  Help them see that de-cluttering is much more than simply getting rid of bags of unwanted clothes.

6. DONATION BOX/BAG

Have a box or bag in the bottom of your wardrobe for any items that no longer feel part of your much loved wardrobe collection.

7. SET REGULAR DATES for DE-CLUTTERing your wardrobe

Put them in your diary and stick to them.  Even if you find that reviewing your wardrobe means there’s nothing to clear out – just setting yourself regular reminders is a great way to stay on top of your wardrobe.

set dates for de-cluttering your wardrobe

8. SHOPPING

Now hopefully your approach to shopping will change as a result of de-cluttering your wardrobe!  You will know what is in your wardrobe and what might be missing. So when you go shopping there are three things you should remember:

  • Spend money only on items that you really love. If you’re seeking a second opinion in the changing room, the chances are it won’t make it to the tag removal stage in your wardrobe!
  • You know what’s in your wardrobe now so when you do see something think about how it will go with other items in your wardrobe – my rule of thumb is you should be able to style something 3 ways!
  • Be honest with yourself when you are shopping – why are you shopping?Are you unhappy about something and buying something to simply cheer yourself up – again unless the item passes the other tests then chances are it will languish unworn

de-cluttering your wardrobe making you more mindful about shopping

9. MONEY

Many of us are sick of Fast Fashion – cheap products, poor quality that don’t last.  Not only are they bad for the environment and are made by people who are barely paid a living wage.  BUT overcoming our attraction to buying from stores offering ‘bargains’ is sometimes more difficult.  Why?

Well it has a lot to do with how we value ourselves.

We know deep down that it’s better to buy quality pieces that will last.  They look better, are more durable and frankly with more care taken in manufacture will look better on us.

Those of us who shop in pre-loved boutiques know how fabulous it feels to find a unique piece with a designer label at an incredibly good PRICE – that’s very much the nub of it.

Buying quality means getting out of our own way on price. Many of us have hang ups about spending a lot on ourselves – often coming from a place where we’ve been conditioned to think ‘we’re not worth it’.

I work on a practical way of reframing the gut churning feelings we get sometimes when we look at the price tag.  We love it, it looks gorgeous and it will go with so much in our wardrobes but how do we justify it?

  • Consider the number of times you might wear the garment, envisage the ways you can make it work in your wardrobe (which is now a neatly curated closet where you know every piece in it)
  • Can you make it into a signature look piece – so you become known as the woman in the gorgeous blah label jacket for example?
  • Then take the cost of the item and divide it by the potential number of times you can see yourself wearing it. This is called the cost per wear.  All of a sudden it doesn’t seem so expensive does it?
  • Reflect on how long you might keep an item you really love and is a quality garment – 5 years, 10 years perhaps? Divide the cost by the number of years – again it doesn’t seem so expensive does it?

FINALLY REFLECT

What was difficult about de-cluttering your wardrobe?  It may make it easier to work out why you hang on to stuff.  What are the emotional ties – are they related to the money you’ve invested, a sense of guilt about cost v wear?

Perhaps there’s some anxiety that you have put on weight and can’t fit into some of your clothes? Maybe you have simply been hanging on to clothes because you don’t like shopping and hoping that you can put off the inevitable moment of having to buy more.

How do you stop those feelings recurring?  Well there are the steps to follow about shopping (as discussed) but do you need some practical help to understand what works for you in terms of colours and styles?

If you’re struggling with de-cluttering your wardrobe you might like to download my handy guide.

 

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add colour to your winter wardrobe with your footwear

How To Re-Boost Your Winter Wardrobe In February

Are you sick of your winter wardrobe?  It’s about this time of year when the first shoots of spring appear, which is when I start thinking about changing my look.  I don’t have a huge collection of clothes, preferring instead to play around with different combinations.  So this makes me more aware of the value of accessories to help create different looks.  It’s key to think outside the box and experiment especially when you’re starting to get fed up with your winter wardrobe.

Spring Summer clothes are starting to make an appearance online and offline but the weather’s not right to wear them yet.  Of course the next round of fashion weeks is about to start and showcase what we’ll be wearing in SS20!

So what can you do to give your winter wardrobe a boost of sunshine?  In this week’s blog we look at some quick tips to help you feel that spring really is just round the corner.

Swap Your Handbagwinter wardrobe add a colourful handbag

Around 34% of women have lots of handbags, but tend to stick to the same one all the time. Why? They’re afraid of forgetting something if they keep changing handbags.

The best way to avoid this is to get yourself a bag liner that is big enough for all your essentials and fits in your bags.  Then make sure all the less valuable but nonetheless essential items are in each of your bags (tissues, pen, lipstick, business cards etc).

But I digress it’s my guess that you may have opted for a dark colour handbag for winter to blend in to your outfits.  Why not swap to a lovely bright colour bag or a beautiful pastel shade.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t match/blend in with your outfit.  So long as you’re not self-conscious about it, just make a statement instead!

Add A Belt To Your Look

Hands up if you don’t wear a belt because you think it will draw attention to the wrong part of your body?  28% of women don’t wear belts for exactly that reason!   But the irony is that a belt can help you create curves and definition to enhance your figure.

A belt is also a great way to change the look of a dress or top.  By wearing something with a belt that you don’t normally it will create a different look.   A sweater dress with a belt, tights and ankle boots is a great way to create a new look for example.  This helps you to extend your winter wardrobe.

Give Your Winter Wardrobe A Boost With A Brooch

How many of us wear brooches these days?  Not many I’ll guess.  We tend to think of brooches as a bit old-fashioned.  We associate them as accessories our grandmothers or aging aunts used to wear.

But if you are getting fed up with wearing your winter coat, adding a brooch is a great way to give it a new lease of life.  Add a pop of colour and statement sparkle to your look.   Check out your local charity shops or vintage stores.   Etsy also has a great collection of brooches.

Add Some Colour To Your Footwearadd colour to your winter wardrobe with your footwear

Most of us gravitate to dark footwear in the winter.   Lots of black, browns and dark greys.  It doesn’t show the mud or matter if it gets splashed so much as brighter colours.

But how about adding a pair of coloured ankle boots to jeans? Make them a feature of your outfit. I have a gorgeous pair of pink satin ankle boots that admittedly I wouldn’t wear outside this time of year. But I love wearing them so much that I’ll happily put them in a bag and take them with me to change into for events.

Bright colours are a great way to cheer yourself up.

Change Your Jewellery With Your Winter Outfits

I bet that you’ve got lots of necklaces you don’t wear in winter?

Either because you think the colours ‘aren’t right’ or you associate them with summer.  Well try a bit of mix and matching.    Add a more summery style of necklace to a winter outfit and see how it looks.

Add pastel colours to black brown or grey.  Just see how different they make your outfit look.use accessories to add colour to your winter outfit

Or taking from one of my tips last week.  If the weather does turn cold again, ditch the metal jewellery in favour of acrylic or plastic jewellery.  The metal will conduct the cold outside temperatures.  I found this out when we used to ski and I’d insist on wearing metal earrings and wonder why my ears were cold!

Accessories Are The Key

Hopefully these ideas are useful and may even inspire you to create some new looks and breath some fresh styles into your winter outfits?

The ideas I’ve suggested all involve accessories but if you’re not confident about choosing and wearing accessories you may be interested in my online course Accessorise with Style & Confidence.  Where you will learn how to choose and use accessories to suit you personally.  Learn how to create more outfits without buying more clothes.

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Kate Cherry Personal Brand

How To Show Up As Your Amazing Personal Brand

Whether we like it or not we all have a personal brand.    How to choose to show up as our own personal brand is really down to us.

personal brand small business ownerI want to look at personal brand from the perspective of a small business owner. More specifically let’s consider those who sell their expertise and time.  You are your brand and it doesn’t get much more personal than that!

But even if we work as part of another organisation there’s a good chance our personal brand aligns with the business brand values.

Let’s take the example of someone while self-employed is part of an established brand as a distributor/consultant.  It’s highly unlikely you would put effort into selling and marketing this business unless your personal values were aligned with the company’s brand values.

For those of us who run our own businesses being aligned with our brand is crucial. It’s our passion, our raison d’être as we live and breathe our brand.     If we show up and are not aligned with our brand our prospective clients will be confused.    It’s not enough to simply talk the talk if we’re not aligned in the way we present ourselves.

If you are your brand it’s important to represent it in a way that aligns with its values in every way that we communicate:

  1. Our website/social media/online marketing
  2. Offline marketing – networking, events
  3. Working with clients

Lets Use Kate As An ExampleKate Cherry Personal Brand

I’d like to use Kate as an example.  Kate has successfully built a business with Arbonne a health and wellness company. Arbonne’s brand values are:

Promote balance and live a pure, healthy lifestyle that encourages others to do the same. Support the Arbonne products and culture with knowledge and relentless passion. Lead by supporting others with professionalism, compassion, respect and integrity.

Okay so let’s take 5 personal values out of that statement:

  • Knowledge
  • Passion
  • Professionalism
  • Compassion
  • Integrity

Those values are stamped through Kate like Brighton Rock, if you meet Kate you will realize that she lives and breathes those values.  They are her personal brand as much as Arbonne’s brand values.

Given that only 7% of our communication is verbal how else can Kate communicate those values?  One way is through her appearance.   Consciously or sub-consciously Kate thinks about those values when she gets dressed in the mornings.    She walks the walk.

Personal Brand And Our Business Brand

It’s about the three Cs

Confidence

If you know you look and feel fabulous that will shine from the inside.

Your inner confidence will be conveyed to everyone you meet.   You will be able to easily communicate your message and it will be understood.

Equally have you ever turned up to an event and felt self-conscious about an aspect of your outfit?   How successful was that event for you?

This is also about accepting that your appearance will not appeal to everyone, any more than you or your business will.   This doesn’t mean you have to completely embrace the idea of dressing for your audience (see consistency).  But it does mean being true to yourself and your values in the way you dress.

Consistency

This isn’t about wearing a uniform, but it is about being consistent in the way you dress.   Let me give you an exampleGet the colours right Hitchin style coach

If I’m out networking I’ll pile on the accessories.  I want to be remembered by the people in the room for what I’m wearing. I’ll wear a bold scarf, a statement necklace and often a chunky bracelet.

However, if I’m working with a client then this look is very much toned down.  Often I’ll wear black, a smaller necklace and sometimes jeans.  Why? Well I’ve asked my client not to wear makeup, to wear an outfit that shows her body shape.  I’m aware she may not feel very comfortable without her normal look. I don’t want her to feel intimidated so will not overpower her with what I wear.

You may wish to create a signature look that helps you to create that consistency.

Accessories are a fantastic way to create a signature look and identify your personal brand.  Alternatively you can do this with the style of clothes you wear.

Credibility

It probably goes without saying that we want to be known as credible and authentic?

It’s an integral part of building a business and establishing a know, like, trust relationship with our clients.

As I’m so fond of quoting: Style is a way of saying who we are without having to speak (Rachel Zoe).  So being seen as credible and authentic in the way we dress helps to reinforce this message.

If we show up in an outfit that doesn’t really represent who we are and our values, then we may find our credibility has suffered.

Remember that we all have a message that we portray to the world on a daily basis.  You can control what the message is saying.   Alternatively you allow others to make assumptions about who you are and what you stand for.

Within seconds, people can and will formulate opinions about who they believe you are. Everyone has a personal brand, whether you have consciously thought about it or not.

 

Oh and there is a 4thone….

ColourKate Cherry Get The Colours Right

Getting your colours right.  Wear the right colours and you will have a healthy glow, the wrong colours and you’ll look tired/overwhelmed.

Special note that if you’re having a photo shoot for your business or you are using video, think about colour.

If you wear the right colours for you, the final images will be much better.  Wear the wrong colours and it will show in images and on video.

It is also a good idea to incorporate your brand colour(s) into the photo shoot. Not necessarily as your entire outfit, you can include your brand colour as an accent colour (accessories, colour in a fabric).

The caveat is that the colours need to be in the right tone/shade for you.  If this is not in true alignment of your brand colours it’s not a big deal.  No one is going to be looking for that level of detail.

So In Summary

Think about your personal values.  Ask yourself if these are in alignment with your business values.    Then consider if the clothes you wear are an expression of these and if not what could you do to ensure more congruence.  If you’re still not sure, why not book a 30-minute no obligation call with me to get clarity on your personal brand and how to show up as yourself?

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Winter Coat Invest In The Perfect Style For You

A good winter coat should keep you nice and toasty but you also want a style to flatter your figure.  A coat is an investment piece so take the time to choose the right one for you.  I’d suggest buying a coat that you really look forward to wearing.  My own winter faux fur coat is at least 20 years old.  I still feel a million dollars every time I wear it.  It’s a classic shape that won’t date or go out of style but equally looks modern and sassy.

So what should you look for when you choose a coat?

Winter Coat Styles For Your Body Shape

Pear Shaped BodyDebenhams Winter Coat With Fur Collar

You want to show off your waist and add some volume to your top half.

Choose double breasted and wide lapels.  If you can’t find both in a style you like go for wide lapels in a faux fur finish.  The texture and pile of the fabric will give you volume.  It goes without saying that your winter coat should be belted as well to show off your waist.

Debenhams – Grey Fur Collar Coat

winter coat for hourglass body shape

Hour Glass Shape Body

You want to flatter your curves, but keep things in proportion.  A great style for you is a single breasted coat with a belt.    If you are a petite hourglass figure just be careful not to choose a winter coat that is too bulky.

Hobbs – Camel Coat

 

Athletic Body Shapewarehouse winter coat funnel collar

You will find you can wear a number of styles of winter coat.  If you are tall then an A line with a funnel neck will look amazing.  You can also wear a winter coat that’s belted to give you some curves.  Puffa jackets will also look fabulous on your slender frame and will add some curves to your top half.

Warehouse – Funnel Coat

 

 

Lipsy Winter CoatInverted Triangle Body Shape

You want to soften your shoulders and add some volume to your bottom half.  You can do this with a slightly fitted coat with soft shoulders.

Lipsy – Red Coat

 

 

Apple Body ShapeWinter Coat Chesca Wrap Style

You want to avoid anything that is too bulky and lacks definition.  Look for  some structure in a winter coat.  You can wear either a waterfall style jacket or coat that you can wear open and finish with a scarf. Alternatively look for a winter coat that has a wrapped look.

Chesca Wrap Coat

 

 

winter coat for petite womanPetite Body

While not a body shape, anyone who is petite needs to avoid overly big and bulky styles.  A winter coat for you needs to be more figure hugging otherwise the fabric may overwhelm you.

A shorter coat (finishing around your knees) will make your legs look longer.  Alternatively look for a winter coat with an asymmetric hemline

Joe Browns Coat

 

Big BustWinter Coat Single Breasted

You may find that buying a winter coat to fit your bust will mean it’s too big everywhere else.  Do not be tempted to swamp yourself in a poncho it will simply draw attention to your bust.  A good option is linear style single- breasted coat. This style will be simple and figure flattering especially with a deep v.neck.

Reiss Single Breasted Coat

 

Don’t worry if you’re not sure what body shape you are, download my free body shape guide to find out.

 

 

 

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How To Layer And Look Stunningly Stylish

How To Layer And Look Stunningly Stylish

It’s that time of year again!   I call September the How To Layer Month!  When it’s starting to feel a bit chillier in the mornings and evenings but the middle of the day can still feel really warm.

You can pull on a jacket over your summer wardrobe, which will work.  But there’s a sense many of us feel, that September marks a new beginning.  It’s the start of the academic year and that means a new term.  We want to mark that in our wardrobe as much as we loved new pencil cases as a child!

For me I’ve got to the point where I want to ring the changes with my style. Equally I don’t want to feel too hot in heavier clothes.  Transitional dressing has become a recognized ‘season’ in the fashion industry as the traditional seasons have become less distinct.

Layering is one of the easiest options.  This enables you to extend the life of your summer wardrobe and still be a bit warmer at the chiller ends of the day.  The question I’m asked most about transitional dressing is how to layer.

Chunky jumpers slung over cute summer dresses look fabulous on tall slender women. But the art of how to layer for most of us is about not adding bulk to our body shape.  It’s also about creating a coordinated stylish look that doesn’t look as though you’re simply recycling your summer wardrobe!

Here are my top tips for how to layer

 

Colour PaletteHow To Layer With Colour

Keep it simple.  Stick to either a monochromatic look (same colour in different tones).  If this feels too restrictive then stick to 2-3 colours at the most.

If you want to wear prints and patterns keep this to one layer only and make it a feature of your outfit.

Why? With the column of colour principle you will look taller and more slender.  This will help to detract from extra layers you may be adding.

Pop On A Waistcoat

Gareth Southgate did a fantastic job of making the waistcoat popular again this summer.  But for autumn a slightly different take on the waistcoat may be a good plan.

Sleeveless jackets and gilets are a great example of how to layer. Add a stylish touch and a bit of extra warmth.

With the faux fur trend being so huge why not add a faux fur gilet to get that extra warmth.  This will look fantastic over a dress or jeans and top combination?

Why?  A gilet will add warmth without helping you to overheat!

Add A Camisole

Remember when your mum nagged you to wear a vest?  How uncool was that!  But in fact Mum was not so far wrong!  The most obvious way of how to layer your clothing is to add a discreet base layer.

You can add a camisole under a favourite lightweight summer dress.   Just be mindful of textures and weight of fabric.  I’d recommend silk or viscose.  Worried about getting too hot? Look for a lightweight bamboo top.  Bamboo has natural wicking properties so that any moisture is dispersed and you’ll feel less hot.

Why?  Adding a camisole will extend the season of a summer dress.

Change Sandals For Boots

A pair of boots can look amazing with a flimsy dress or skirt. Add a leather or denim jacket and if boho is your thing, you’re there!

If Boho isn’t your style consider swapping sandals for ankle boots with trousers or jeans.  I appreciate this is not strictly how to layer but it’s another great way of adding a touch of warmth.

Just be mindful of wearing natural breathable fabrics.  If it does get hot in the middle of the day, full on winter boots are going to be much too hot.

Alternative footwear options at this time of year are shoe boots. Think ankle boots with cut out toes and sometimes ankles.  If you’re not sure what style of boots then check out my post.

Why? If your feet are warm enough then you’ll be able to wear lighter weight clothes for longer.

AccessoriseHow To Layer With Accessories

My favourite way of how to layer is to use accessories.  Seriously adding a scarf to an outfit can definitely turn a summer outfit into a transitional one.

You may want to throw on a pashmina or oversized scarf as an alternative to a jacket or coat.  These can be quickly removed and don’t add bulk.   Especially useful if you’re commuting and get overheated (as I do) on public transport!

If like me you’re likely to want to tear the scarf off halfway through the day, then wear a necklace underneath.

Why? You will still feel your outfit’s complete and accessorized if you remove your scarf.

So Now You Know How To Layer

Hopefully this post has given you a few ideas of how to:

  • Extend your summer wardrobe when it’s too warm for autumn clothes
  • Avoid overheating in September
  • Create some fresh looks for September

 

Online Accessories Course

I’m considering setting up an Online Accessories Course.   In the first instance I’m asking for feedback so I can plan the content.  A minute of your time to complete a quick survey would be amazing.  There’s no obligation beyond that.   The survey’s anonymous.  But if you add your name in the comments to say you’ve done it then I’ll be saying thank you with a gift!

 

 

 

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leopard print fashion

How To Wear Awesome Leopard Print Fashion

Leopard Print has announced itself as one of the top trends with an almighty roar for the forthcoming AW season.  I’m not advocating that you should buy into trends for the sake of it.  However I do like to look at how we can use what’s available if you are looking to add to your wardrobe.

leopard print fashion

But First A Step Back In Time

Leopard print first became popular when Christian Dior used a leopard print fabric in one of his collections in 1947.

Jackie Kennedy glamorized the look in 1962.  When I’m sad to say she wore a Leopard-Skin Coat, which caused a sensation. It’s said that the designer was truly shamed by the demand that the coat generated and the impact on the leopard population.

Moving on to 1970s leopard print started to be seen as tacky and cheap.  It recovered its sexy and sophisticated image in the 1990s. Frankly its never really been out of fashion, but it’s application has become much more widespread in the past couple of years.

What Makes Leopard Print So Popular?

It’s association with leopards. Sorry if that sounds too simplistic but it’s true! People who wear leopard print say that it makes them feel sexy, strong, beautiful and powerful.

Leopard print is incredibly versatile.  It has a glamorous luxurious look if worn with a smart outfit.  But equally looks really amazing if worn with jeans and trainers, lifting an ordinary outfit into the realms of a rock ’n’ roll look!

You don’t need to dress head to toe in leopard print to buy into it.  You can use accessories to add a touch of animal print.

But Can I Wear Leopard Print?

If you really mean am I too old to wear leopard print then regular readers will know my answer on that one.  Age is merely a number on a birth certificate!

If you don’t have the confidence to wear leopard print, you feel too self-conscious for example, that’s different.  You won’t carry it off.  But if you still wish to wear leopard print look for scarves, purses or underwear, as a way to do so, discreetly.

But brown isn’t in my colour palette!  The good news on this one is that designers recognized this so you can buy leopard print garments in various colours.    It’s also possible to wear brown leopard print providing it’s not next to your face.

When I searched for leopard print items on Next’s site for example I got 242 items in various shades from black/grey, pink, teal and red as well as the more natural look!

Leopard Print Ideas AW18/19

Let’s take a look at some of the items that are available and how you might style them.

Outerwear

Next has a great single breasted coat that would look great with jeans or as they show on their website styled with …..

A single-breasted coat is best for anyone with wide shoulders or a large chest where you don’t want to add width to your top half.

Zara’s double-breasted coat would look great for anyone looking to add more width to his or her top half.

An alternative way to wear leopard print before winter kicks in is with this cotton printed jacket from & Other Stories.  With the drawstring waist this adds versatility to styling and shaping the jacket.

The secret of wearing leopard print coats or jackets is to keep the garments underneath plain colours.  Don’t add prints or patterns, it just looks too busy.  You want the bold animal print to take centre stage.    The only exception and you really do need the confidence to carry this off is to wear animal print underneath.

Leopard Print Outerwear

Tops

You are spoilt for choice if you’re looking for leopard print blouses.  There’s also quite a wide range of colours, such as this blue leopard print from Banana Republic.

A selection here for different body shapes ranges from high neck blouses that work for hourglass figures as seen on Zalando, long necks and inverted triangle body shapes (wide shoulders).  Or jersey tops that look great with black trousers or jeans such as this crew neck from Max Mara.

If you’re adding jewellery keep it simple a bold necklace is fine but keep to one colour metal.  Or alternatively try earrings rather than  a necklace if you’re wearing a high neck.

Stick to one colour on the bottom half.  Black is the obvious choice, but strong reds or deep plums or greens can also look good.

Leopard Print Tops

Trousers and Skirts

Not everyone is going to be comfortable wearing leopard print jeans or leggings. For many it’s a step too far.  But here are a couple of ideas.

Try leggings with a denim jacket and T shirt as Next have done in this image, for example.  Alternatively tapered trousers with a smart plain top and strappy shoes will look really smart, as per this pair from Forever Unique.

An animal print skirt can look fantastic with a plain coloured top or blouse. Blacks, browns, red or white are some options to consider for tops and add ankle boots to finish the look with this gorgeous Mint Velvet skirt.

Team skirts with plain boots.  Knee length or ankle boots look fantastic.  Complete the look with opaque black tights.

Leopard Print Trousers and Skirts

Dresses

If you’re comfortable wearing head to toe leopard print there are some lovely dresses available at the moment.   Mint Velvet has a beautiful midi length shirt dress with a handkerchief hem and v neck that would look amazing with knee length or ankle boots.  Just add a simple statement necklace to complete the look.

Hobbs has a classic wrap dress that would work for the office or a more casual look.  Team this with court shoes and a plain black jacket and classic style of bag.   For when the weather turns add a simple trench coat and for a super smart look.

Silk Fred has a selection of leopard print dresses. This blue one would be great for anyone with an hour glass figure or a pear shaped body.

 

 

Leopard Print Dresses

 

Accessories

If you want to just add a touch of leopard print there is a fabulous selection at Dune this season including court shoes, ankle boots and sneakers.  Dune also has a great selection of bags and if you’re not sure what to look for when choosing a bag check out this earlier post.

In Summary

Leopard Print is for any age, but wear as much as you feel comfortable wearing.   Leopard print is versatile in terms of matching it with strong colours, although blue (particularly denim), brown, red white and black are probably the most popular colours to choose. Keep it simple – use block colours with leopard print to get the best effect.  I’ve made several references in this post to body shapes and styles.  If you’re not sure what shapes and styles you should be looking for why not download my Body Shape Guide?

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clothing choices confidence

Clothing Choices: How To Have A Great Day

 

clothing choices confidence

I left the house today for a series of meetings and wanted to make an impact.

It was hot and I was going to be spending a lot of time in the car and wandering around.  So I chose a sleeveless sundress which wouldn’t crease when I got hot.   There’s nothing worse when you’re wilting in the heat to think that your clothes are dissolving into a heap too.  I also chose some distinctive sandals.

But there were deeper reasons why I decided on this particular outfit.  The last time I’d worn it had been to a fashion event in London and I’d received some great complements.  I’d worn it before at a networking event and several people had told me I looked lovely.

Complements make us feel good and give us confidence.  While basing our clothing choices purely on the opinions of others isn’t a great idea, there’s nothing wrong in having our own decisions about our wardrobe ratified.

It worked! Five minutes after I’d parked the car I was stopped by a lovely gentleman who told me what a beautiful dress I was wearing.  He went on to say how he loved to see people when they really made an effort to dress well. Result?  I had a very successful first meeting (not with the gentleman who had commented I hasten to add!).

My second meeting was also a great success and by the time I got to my third meeting of the day I was flying high as a kite (nothing to do with the quantity of caffeine ingested!).

Conversely do you find yourself resorting to well-worn comfort clothes when things aren’t going so well?  Our clothes can have such a big impact on us that it can distort our thoughts and judgements said Professor Karen J Pine.

The clothes we wear affect our behaviour, attitudes, mood, confidence, and how others respond to us.  Termed “Enclothed Cognition“ by Adam Galinsky and Hajo Adam.

clothing choices impact our behaviour

Let’s consider each of these elements in turn.

 

The Way We Behave

Take my example today.  I had just received a complement about my appearance, which reinforced my decision on my outfit, but more importantly made me feel fabulous.   The energy I exuded was positive and bubbly and helped to build the rapport quickly with the other party.

I’m not the only one testing this theory!  There have been more scientific studies have been carried out than my example today!

In one such study 50% of students taking a cognitive test were asked to wear a white coat. They were told that the coat belonged to a doctor. The students wearing the coat performed better in the tests than those who were not wearing the white coat.

We attach a symbolic meaning to our clothes. So using the doctors coats as an example. We associate doctors as:

  • Careful
  • Meticulous
  • Rigorous
  • Educated

 

Our Attitude

Today my outfit choice meant that I was feeling really positive.   I didn’t have to try hard I could simply be myself in meetings, feeling confident will automatically help us to relax.

Again this theory has been tested by psychologists.  In a study carried out at Harvard, this was tested by giving participants a pair of sunglasses.

Half of the group had been told they were wearing genuine designer sunglasses. The remaining members of the group were informed that their glasses were fake designer sunglasses.

The group was then given a competitive game as an exercise.  Those who were told they were counterfeit glasses were more prepared to cheat in a game that the group was assigned. They were also more suspicious of others!

Our Mood

How do heels make you feel? Most women feel more powerful when they are wearing heels, they act more confidently.  I certainly do although wearing heels was not even a consideration for  me running around between meetings in 27 Degrees!

So can our clothing choices have the opposite effect?

One woman I know has a ‘grumpy jumper’.   If she’s going through a low period she allows herself to put on the grumpy jumper and to allow herself to work through the emotions. When she is ready to face the world again the grumpy jumper gets consigned to the back of the drawer.

We can choose to dress for the way we feel when we get dressed. Alternatively we can dress for the way we want to feel.    I work from home a lot and my clothing choices around the house are pretty casual when I’m at my computer all day.  But when I come back from a meeting although I do get changed into jeans, shorts etc, I’ll usually leave my jewellery on.  It’s amazing how different this makes me feel.

clothing choices heels

Our Confidence

Who has heard of the Red Hat Society?   The idea originated from Sue Cooper in 1997.

Sue  bought herself a red fedora from a charity shop for $7.50 as a present to herself to celebrate her 50th birthday.

She immediately noticed how confident, liberated and playful she felt when she wore her red fedora. So Sue started to buy her friends a red hat for their birthdays. They added a purple outfit to their red hats and so the Red Hat Society was born.

With over a million members globally the Red Hat Society is a sisterhood. It’s a powerful social group which has helped to empower women. They spread their playful and positive approach to aging across the world.

A date for your diary – 25th April – The official Red Hat Society Day.

clothing choices red hat society

How Others Respond To Us

A study carried out at University of Hertfordshire, participants volunteered to have their photo taken in roughly the same body position.

The participants were asked to complete a questionnaire about their mood at the time they got dressed that morning.  After they had been photographed the research team pixelated out their faces from the images.

A second group were given the images and asked to determine the subject’s mood purely from the clothes they were wearing.

The study revealed a high level of accuracy in being able to determine the wearer’s mood by sampling looking at the clothing choices.

 

So how can we give ourselves a confidence boost every time we get dressed?

 

Know Your Colours

If we wear the right colours we look healthy and radiant. Other people are drawn towards us and want to engage with us.

They won’t necessarily know why they are drawn to looking directly into our eyes.

This can be really powerful if you’re meeting with someone and want to ensure their attention!

Conversely if we wear the wrong colours we can look tired or unwell. The colours may overwhelm us and people can be distracted by what we are wearing.

Have you ever been asked if you’re feeling okay, but until that point you’d been feeling fine?  What’s your reaction? Do you surreptitiously start feeling your forehead? Or do you make an excuse to disappear to the loo and poke your tongue in the mirror?

Well don’t – chances are that you’re simply wearing the wrong colours!

finding your style recipe

Understand What Suits You

Sadly most of us spend far too much time worrying about what we don’t love about our bodies.

80% of women are unhappy with their body image in the UK

87% of women opt out of an activity due to the way they feel about their body

These statistics are frankly frightening.  These findings are from the survey commissioned by Unilever as part of the Dove BeReal Campaign.

Wearing clothing that flatters your body is going to make you feel more confident. This applies to all of us, regardless of gender.

Style is a game of illusion. We can use styles, patterns, prints and textures to draw the eye in certain directions and change our shape. Conversely we can draw unwanted attention by wearing the wrong thing.

Take one very simple example. If you are a petite woman with an oversized handbag, this will have the effect of making you look even more petite.

Equally if you are a large scaled woman, and you carry a small clutch bag you will look bigger.

 

Clothing Choices Are Just About Colour and Style?

Not really we also need to think about our personality and how this is visible from our clothing choices.

With seconds to make that vital first impression, how much easier is it when someone ‘gets us’ immediately.

93% of communication when we first meet someone is non-verbal.

While our clothing isn’t the main factor in that non-verbal communication, it has more than a bit part to play.  So how do we express ourselves through our clothes?

By thinking about our clothing choices and what they say to the world.

Someone who is looking to appear calm and serene is hardly likely to rock up in a neon pink jumpsuit.   This is an extreme example but illustrates the point.

clothing choices reflect our personality

Discovering Your Style Recipe

When you’re thinking about the messages you want to communicate I’d recommend you start by doing this exercise. Keep a journal based on you, your wardrobe and your clothing choices.

The things you will be taking note of on a daily basis are:

  1. What Was I Wearing – remember how your clothing choices made you feel. Are there some pieces that are your ‘go to outfits’, in which you feel really confident?
  2. Do some items in your wardrobe attract complements when you wear them? They might not be clothes but could be accessories. Note these down too.
  3. Are there some colours that you wear that attract more complements or make you feel happier when you wear them?

Do this exercise for at least a couple of weeks.

When you’ve done this see what emerges. You will see some patterns emerging from your clothing choices. Whether it’s colours, shapes, fabric textures.

Take photos of the clothes that make you feel special and the ones you receive complements when wearing.

Look at the images – what words spring to mind? Become more mindful of the clothing choices that make you feel fabulous. This in itself will do wonders for your self-confidence!

I’d love to hear from you about your experiences of the way your wardrobe can help you to have a really fantastic day.

If you’d like to explore how I can help you to discover your style and make clothing choices that help you to feel fantastic, why not book a 30-minute call with me?

 

 

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Off The Shoulder Top

How To Embrace The Look: Off The Shoulder Tops

Off the shoulder tops are a trend that is showing no sign of going away.   A really big trend that started to emerge in 2014/15 and has just got bigger and stronger for 2017.

While I’m not into following trends for the sake of it, fashion does to some extent govern buyers choices.  Therefore it’s useful to look at what’s available to buy and think about how to wear it.

Nordstrom Off The Shoulder Top

Nordstrom Off The Shoulder Top

 

A hint of hedonistic summer fun and a slightly hippie vibe is one picture that off the shoulder tops conjure up.  They suggest festivals or summer holidays with sun-kissed shoulders!   Off the shoulder tops can be a great way to show off some skin, without feeling over-exposed.

However, despite reading a few blog posts suggesting this style is for everyone I am yet to be convinced and this week’s post gives the reasons why.

I’m also going to give you a quick trip round the shops and some styling ideas for off the shoulder tops.

 

Top Tips For Off The Shoulder Tops

strapless bra house of fraser

House of Fraser – Ultimo

Strapless Bra

You need to feel comfortable wearing a strapless bra. For women with large bust wearing a strapless bra is simply not comfortable. Equally women with a very small bust may struggle to find a strapless bra that works.   One option is to look at a bra with clear straps but personally I’m not convinced this looks good!

Skin Tone

Good skin tone is helpful self-confidence is even better! If your shoulders and neck area are toned then an off the shoulder top will look great. But if you’re self-conscious about your neck and décolletage then off the shoulder styles are not for you!

Keeping Your Cool

If you do feel comfortable wearing sleeveless tops or showing off your upper arms then off the shoulder tops are a fabulous option for warmer weather.  They will help you to feel cool as your shoulders are exposed and avoid you feeling self-conscious about your arms.

Go Cold Shoulder

Coast Cold Shoulder Top

Coast Cold Shoulder Top

If off the shoulder tops are not comfortable, because you can’t find a strapless bra that feels good or you’re too self-conscious, why not consider cold shoulder?   Cold-shoulder tops, depending on the style, will allow you to wear a bra with straps.   They are also not as revealing as an off-the-shoulder top.

Stop Your Top From Moving

So how do you keep an off the shoulder top in place?   Off the shoulder tops are great for standing around and not using your arms! But do something with your arms and the top rides up around your ears. Not a good look! This tip with hair ties is a tried and tested method.

 

So Are Off The Shoulder Tops Just For A Medium Sized Bust?

Oasis Off The Shoulder Top

Oasis Off The Shoulder Top

No, providing you are comfortable that your bust is supported and that you have the confidence to wear an off the shoulder top, just bear in mind these basic points:

If you have a large bust

An off the shoulder top with added ruffles really isn’t going to be a great look. This may be stating the obvious but I make no apologies for that. Instead look for off the shoulder tops that flatter your lovely curves with more shape. Alternatively cold shoulder tops are a good option.

If you have a small bust

More detail around the top will look good. Detail will add volume to your top half. It will also balance your shape, if you have larger hips.   If your shoulders are narrow also look for puffed sleeves, as these will broaden your top half. Just be careful if you are petite that the details around the neck are not so big, as to overwhelm your frame.

Can You Wear Off The Shoulder Tops For Everyday Wear?

If you want to wear off-the-shoulder tops they can work for most occasions.   It’s a case of pairing them with the right clothes to complete an outfit and following a few basic styling principles.

At the end of the day, though, it’s still down to your confidence and if off the shoulder tops make you feel fabulous.

Off The Shoulder Top - Office

Office Suggestion – Buying Guide Below

For The Office

Not recommended if you work in a bank or a professional office. If you are going to feel remotely self-conscious wearing an off the shoulder top in the work place simply don’t do it!

However, if you are a in a relaxed office environment then off the shoulder is fine, unless you have an HR policy stating differently.

My recommendation for styling an off the shoulder top in a work environment would be to pair with tailored skirt or trousers and smart footwear.

Looks For Weekends

Off the shoulder tops look fabulous with jeans.

If you are wearing a full off the shoulder top then this will look best with skinny jeans. They give jeans an instant glamorous look. Add a pair of ankle boots or fun sneakers and this is a great look.

An off the shoulder top can also look amazing with an A line or full skirt to give it a real vintage rockabilly look!

Team with a straight maxi skirt for the ultimate festival or holiday vibe.

Off The Shoulder Weekend Look

Weekend Look – Buying Guide Below

Evening And Occasions

Wearing a plain off the shoulder top with the same colour trousers will create a jumpsuit effect. Try this look for a summer party.

For a glamorous look wear an off the shoulder top with culottes or ankle grazers and heels.

Palazzo trousers and an off the shoulder top is a really relaxed look for a summer evening.

The best way to create a really glamorous look for an off the shoulder top for the evening is to wear a statement necklace to really finish off the look.

Finally

I’d love to hear from you.

If you like to wear off the shoulder looks, what styles and outfit combinations do you go for?

Do you prefer cold shoulder tops? If so what’s your best look?

Do you dare to bare your shoulders this summer?

 

Buying Guide

Office Suggestion
Off The Shoulder Top – Nordstrom  , Culottes – Warehouse Shoes – Karen Millen , Handbag – Karen Millen Necklace –  Nordstrom
Weekend Look
Off The Shoulder Top – Mint Velvet, Jeggings – River Island, Ankle Boots – Elia BBag – Oasis   Necklace – John Lewis 

 

 

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how to wear a belt

How To Wear A Belt To Create A Stunning Look

When I ask my clients how they feel about belts, the answer I receive is often ‘not sure’. Or perhaps they will say that they don’t have the figure to wear a belt.

It’s frankly an urban myth that you need to be tall and lean or have a perfect hourglass figure.

Worn the right way a belt can add definition and enhance your body shape. A belt can also provide the focal point for an outfit.  .

We can all wear a belt. But as with most items in our wardrobes, it’s about making the right choices. Hopefully my tips will inspire you to wear a belt other than to hold your jeans up!

wear a belt with a jumpsuit

Wear A Belt To Flatter Your Shape

The elements of your body that you need to consider to determine what shape of belt to go for are:

  1. Are you short waisted?
  2. Are you long waisted?
  3. Do you have a defined waist?
  4. Do you have a full bust?
  5. Are your hips full?
  6. Do you have a thick waist?
  7. Are you petite?

 

If You Are Short Waistedkaren-millen-chain-belt

This means that your natural waist is closer to your bust than your hips. This may also be referred to as high waisted. So to wear a belt you should chose the following looks:

  1. A narrow belt
  2. Wear a belt across your hips
  3. Wear a belt the same colour as your top and in contrast to your bottom
  4. Select a belt that is the same colour as your outfit

 If You Are Long Waisted

This means that your torso is long and your natural waist sits quite low.   Consider the following to wear a belt

  1. A wide belt
  2. Wear a belt just above your natural waist. Do not allow it to sit on your hips, as this will emphasize your long torso.

Women who have a long waist will have shorter legs so you want to use styling tips to create longer legs.

Do You Have A Defined Waist?Desigual Statement Belt

If you have an hourglass figure or a pear shaped body with a defined waist, embrace it!   Wear a belt that shows off your waist and emphasizes your curves, giving definition to your shape. It doesn’t need to be a statement belt,  it can blend in to your outfit.

Conversely if you do not have a defined waist, but have slender hips wear a belt to create a waist.

 If You Have A Full Bust

Wear a belt that to show off your curves.

If you have a large bust you may find yourself having to buy a dress that fits your bust but may be too big elsewhere. Avoid a shapeless look, which will be really unflattering. Wear a belt to define your bust and flatter your voluptuous curves.

A full bust can create the illusion of a short waist, so consider a medium width belt.

 Are Your Hips Full?

If your hips are broader than your shoulders then you have a pear shaped body. But before you start despairing about your hips and thighs, embrace the fact that you have a defined waist.

Go out there and show off your waist. Wear a belt on your waist but be careful not to wear a belt too low, especially if you are wearing a cropped jacket. This will simply make your hips look bigger.

Do You Have A Thick Waist?

Women who have a thick waist often feel that they should not wear a belt. They are concerned that this will draw attention to their tummy. But for women who have a thick waist a belt can emphasize your lovely bust and show off your curves.   Wear a belt slightly higher than your natural waistline. Choose a belt that blends with your outfit in a stretch fabric and see the results.

Are you petite?

If you are petite then be careful if you decide to wear a wide belt.

A wide belt in a contrasting colour to your outfit will simply cut you in half. It will create a horizontal line, which will have the effect of making you look shorter.

You can wear a belt with a tie that sits low on your waist and hangs down. This will create vertical lines and help you to look taller.

how to wear a belt

How To Style A Belt?

Having determined what you should look for to suit your body shape, now it’s on to the fun part of how to wear a belt with style!

This probably sounds very obvious but a belt should be a reflection of your personality and your style.   The following are just a few ideas of how you can have fun with belts!

Enhance Your Body Shape

Show off the parts of your body you love!

If you are wearing a loose fitting top and tight trousers add a belt to enhance your silhouette.

An oversized top or dress will look finished with a belt slung around your hips.

A tight fitting top and baggy trousers will look good with a belt to complete the look and give some structure to your silhouette.

Dramatic Effect

Wear a metallic belt with a monochrome dress or jumpsuit for an occasion.

Look at belts with a statement buckle to create a real attention grabbing look.

A wide belt will make a bold statement.

Make this the focal point of your outfit. You can contrast your belt with shoes and handbag for a real impact.

Alternatively a slightly more classic dramatic look would be to wear a statement belt that matched your bag and shoes.

Be creative and have fun!

Wear a bright patterned scarf as a belt. This can look great with jeans – blue or white denim for a fun summer look.

If you have a coat, such as a trench coat, that has a detachable belt swap this for a patterned scarf for a quirky look.

Finally …

Do you wear a belt?  If so how do you wear belts, please share in the comments below.

If you are not confident about how to wear a belt or how to complete an outfit with accessories, why not join us for The Finishing Touch Workshop?

Shopping Details

Make a statement with a wide belt

Biba Belt Wallis Jumpsuit Carvela Shoes Carvela Bag

Subtle Style With A Wide Belt

Hobbs Belt Tunic Top White Stuff Biba Scarf Phase Eight Bag Phase Eight Boots

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Finishing Touch Workshop Choosing A Handbag

Alongside Every Successful Woman Is An Amazing Handbag

We haven’t even got as far as talking about handbags! Announced one of my clients recently as our session drew to a close.   I knew that to start discussing choosing a handbag at this late stage would be overload!

My styling sessions are extremely informative and I don’t expect clients to take any notes. as I will send them the details. But even so there’s a limit to how much information anyone can absorb.

finishing touch choosing a handbag

I will blog about handbags, I promised as I collected my things. Then we can discuss what’s right for you. Her next client had arrived, so it was a perfect solution.

So what do you need to think about when you are choosing a handbag? There are a few points to consider.   But let’s first dispel the myth that you need a bag to match your shoes.

I think I’ve only ever subscribed to that theory once, about 12 years ago. However the shoes I’d bought were so uncomfortable that they were abandoned under my chair as soon as we sat down to dinner!   I’m still using the handbag though!

So what do you need to consider when choosing a handbag?

What Do You Want It For

This might sound blindingly obvious but I’ll admit to having been seduced by the colour or detailing when choosing a handbag.

Choosing a handbag

An ‘interesting’ drama when I had to take my leather jacket off to save my personal belongings! A heavy and unexpected shower meant my stuff would have been soaked just because I HAD to have that gorgeous crushed velvet bag!

Consider the practical elements when choosing a handbag:

  1. Are you a mum and so does choosing a handbag mean finding a really practical one to carry around all those essentials?
  2. Do you want it for going to work? Does it need to be able to hold a tablet, your lunch or perhaps your laptop?
  3. When choosing a handbag you may be tempted by fabric or suede but if you’re outside in all weathers with your bag, this might not be practical

If you’re choosing a handbag for social occasions you probably want to consider a much smaller bag. This helps to avoid the temptation of taking too much stuff with you whenever you’re going out socially!

choosing a handbag for an evening out

Think About Your Body

When you are choosing a handbag think about your own body your shape and scale.  Remember your bag becomes an extension of you and part of your outfit.

A petite woman carrying a very large handbag will make you look smaller. This also works in reverse a larger woman with a small bag will look bigger.

choosing a handbag consider your scale

If you have a large bust be wary when choosing a handbag you want to wear on your shoulder. Avoid short straps that mean your bag will fall in line with your bust.

But equally if you have a pear shaped body with a small bust and larger hips, a good choice would be a bag that sits on your shoulder and falls in line with your bust. But avoid a longer strap that means the bag sits in line with your hips.

If you have a large bust cross body bags might be practical but will not be the best look for you.

 

Straps And Handles When Choosing A Handbagchoosing a handbag for an evening out

Now is time to think about the one of the design features you want when choosing a handbag.

. If you are standing around with drinks and possibly canapés or shaking hands you will run out of hands!! How much easier is it to pop your bag on your shoulder?

Adjustable straps are really useful. This will enable you to fix the length of the strap so that it flatters your bodyline.

Handles. A lot of bags have a grab handle as well as straps. This can be a really useful feature when choosing a handbag, particularly if you are using it for work and going to lots of meetings. It can be much simpler to just simply pick up your bag while you’re finishing a conversation, rather than scrabbling about putting it on your shoulder.

 

Other Design Details

Shapechoosing a handbag to complement your bodily

If you are a curvy bodyline, then a handbag with soft edges and curves will look good. If you have an angular bodyline a more boxy shape bag with squarer edges will work for you.

Security

Think about the clasp or closure when choosing a handbag.   Not only do you want to prevent your belongings from falling out, sadly you need to protect them against thieves.

That said I’ve had two handbags stolen. On both occasions the thieves made off with the entire bag!

Weight

This didn’t’ even occur to me when I was feeding my Guess Bag addiction on EBay last year! Consequently my latest acquisition only gets an outing when I don’t have to hold it on my shoulder for long! It weighs 750g before I put anything in it!

 

Pockets And Compartmentschoosing a handbag number of pockets and compartments

When choosing your handbag, think about what you will be carrying and convenience.

Do you want easily accessible pockets to put items like keys and phone? If you commute do you want an outside pocket for your season ticket or oyster card?

 

Personality and Style

Your handbag should be an extension of your personality and style.

If you want to make a statement, then your handbag is a great way to do this. I’ve definitely bought handbags not just because I loved them, but they made a bold statement! For those readers who know me, I’m sure that will be a big surprise!!

If you have a more elegant style you will be attracted to bags that offer a more classic design.

For someone who loves a feminine look you will probably be attracted to bags with lots of details, colours and a fun look.choosing a handbag to suit your personality

In terms of colour while I am adamant that you do not need to match your shoes and your handbag, you may want to consider your colours if you have had your colours analyzed. Just because your bags will co-ordinate more easily with your outfits!

Has That Given You Bags Of Ideas?

Sorry I couldn’t resist that one!! But I do hope this post has given you some ideas of points to consider when choosing a handbag?

Do you find yourself sticking to one bag at a time for everyday use? It prevents the risk of forgetting anything when you change bags? Or do you prefer to swap your bags around and look for different bags to work with different outfits? If you are worried about swapping bags and forgetting things, you could consider a bag liner.

If you would like to learn more about choosing a handbag and how to accessorise I will be running a workshop in May check out the details here.

 

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